The Real Mad Men: The Renegades of Madison Avenue and the Golden Age of Advertising

Andrew Cracknell, Author
Andrew Cracknell. Running, $28 (226p) ISBN 978-0-7624-4090-0
Reviewed on: 03/05/2012
Release date: 02/01/2012
Paperback - 224 pages - 978-0-85738-427-0
Open Ebook - 225 pages - 978-0-7624-4243-0
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Written by a former copywriter working during the Creative Revolution of the 1960s, Cracknell's account of the heyday of advertising—currently being explored on AMC's hit show Mad Men—is a terrific supplement to the show, as well as a primer on the evolution of the industry. Weaving quotes from the groundbreaking show into his historical narrative, Cracknell illustrates how iconic campaigns such as "The Man in the Hathaway Shirt," the VW "Think Small" ads, and Avis' "We Try Harder" revolutionized the industry, and what it was like to toil in the agencies that produced such work. Populated by colorful characters like David Ogilvy, Bill Bernbach, Carl Ally, and the beautiful, tough-talking Mary Wells, it's clear that the TV series is—for the most part—true to life. From flagrant sexual harassment on account of the prevalent boys' club atmosphere to a violent fight just before a Christmas party resulting in a bloodied office, there was plenty of drama to go around, though the offices weren't as liquored up as Mad Men may lead one to believe. Still, agencies like DDB, PKL, Wells Rich Greene, and others created some of the most compelling and lasting promotional work. Advertising geeks will gobble this up, but even those completely unaware of Don Draper and Sterling Cooper will appreciate this lively and spirited account. Photos. (Feb.)
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